The Benue Youths Forum have lauded the efforts of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on his timely resolution of issues that pertains to salaries and pension areas to civil servants in the state.
Ortom who featured on TVC’s public affairs programme “Journalists Hangout” last Sunday spoke on some national issues and those that concern his state.
The Governor was emphatic in reminding Nigerians and the people that his state has the highest wage bill in Northern Nigeria and the third highest in the country after Lagos and Rivers states.
Governor Ortom also explained how his administration has taken bold steps to solve the issues of pensions by domesticating the contributory pension scheme. By this act, he assured that the issues of payment of workers’ entitlements and benefits of retirees would be a thing of the past. This is commendable.
From statistics available, even his predecessors like Aper Aku, Moses Adasu, George Akume, Gabriel Suswam and the previous military administrators of the state had at one time or another faced challenges in the payment of salaries to workers.
Apart from that, his administration inherited salary arrears, pensions, gratuities and other statutory obligations to the tune of 70 billion naira. He has however been able to reduce this to about 40 billion naira as at this point.
The Benue Youth Forum in a statement issued by Terrence Kuanum said it is pleased with the pace-setting initiatives of the Governor Ortom-led administration towards solving issues concerning workers welfare, particularly payment of pensions and salaries.
“The Ortom administration recently took a bold step when it got the approval of the Benue State House of Assembly to access a N41 billion facility to clear the backlog of salaries and pensions. We are however shocked and saddened that enemies of the people, the leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC in Benue State wrote a petition to the presidency to stop the State Government from obtaining the said loan. We strongly condemn the conduct of such elements and caution them to immediately desist from their anti-workers action.
“We commend the Governor for his transparency in deploying funds accruing to the state from the Federation Account and the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR and other sources by involving critical stakeholders like the labour unions.
“That he carries all stakeholders, including the leadership of labour unions in Benue along in appropriating the state’s financial resources further amplifies his pedigree as a man whose penchant for probity and accountability is unmatched.
“We also commend Governor Ortom for his openness and friendly disposition towards the labour unions in Benue state. This has contributed greatly in the enduring industrial harmony in the state even in the face of challenges.
“We also commend Governor Ortom for the prompt payment of workers salaries since 2018 to date and his frantic efforts to offset the outstanding arrears of salaries, some of which he inherited.
“While we pledge our continued support for the Governor as he strives to do more in the remaining months of his administration, we urge the labour force not to renege in understanding with the government as it desirous of making their welfare a priority.
“It is equally instructive for naysayers to be patriotic enough in seeing reason with the administration which is managing a huge humanitarian crisis due to the displacement of the people by marauding herdsmen. The persistent attempts to paint the government black for political reasons will not help our cause.
“We therefore call on all people of goodwill to keep supporting the Ortom-led administration as it strives to bequeath a better Benue to the next generation” he said